After some research on the Internet, I realized that the opportunity to witness my second total solar eclipse (I witnessed my first one in Winnipeg in 1979) was too great to pass up even if it meant driving over 2000 kilometres round-trip over an extended 4-day weekend just to witness a 2+ minute-long spectacle. The fact that the zone of totality would pass right through the heart of Idaho was very appealing to me though. The weather is generally sunny there, camping restrictions are few or non-existent, and there are lots of great peak-bagging objectives.
As it turned out, my ambitious plan of watching the eclipse from the top of a mountain did not pan out since I was utterly spent after two long outings on Saturday and Sunday. Regardless, the solar eclipse on Monday still looked amazing from my camping spot at Garden Creek Recreation Site, and this one was just as memorable as the first one I witnessed 38 years earlier. I will always remember the sudden cooling of the air and darkening of the sky, the cheers from everybody in the campground when totality arrived, and the lady in the next camp playing Richard Strauss's "Also sprach Zarathustra" (Theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey") and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" on her trumpet! Most of all, I will remember how fleeting this wondrous moment was. Totality lasted a little over 2 minutes, but it seemed to go by in a flash just as it had 38 years ago. In retrospect, those 38 years also seemed to go by in a flash, and I am reminded of how precious our time is here on this planet.
Shortly after totality ended, I, like many others, were already hitting the road for home (a 13-hour drive back to Calgary for me including a bit of traffic congestion).
My mediocre photography skills aside, photos and
words simply do not do justice to the experience of witnessing a total
solar eclipse in person. There's nothing in the world quite like
it. For those of you that have never seen a total solar eclipse in
person, I refer you to this excellent
for inspiration: "Before you die, you owe it to yourself to experience a total solar
eclipse." The sun disappears for good (at least for the day) over
the peaks in Glacier National Park (Montana).
The Milky Way Galaxy stretches across
the sky at Garden Creek campground the night before the eclipse.
This is Sonny's campsite at Garden
Creek campground on the morning of the eclipse.
Though difficult to see in this
unfiltered photograph, the moon begins to eclipse the sun from top
A nice lady from the big camp next to Sonny generously gave him a spare set of certified eclipse viewing glasses to keep.
In this filtered photograph, the moon is nearly covering all of the
The sky begins to darken over the big camp next to Sonny's campsite.
This is an unfiltered photograph of totality showing the sun's
corona. Totality lasted a little over two minutes.
Later in the afternoon, smoke from a wildfire on Lolo Mountain near
Missoula, Montana threatens to obscure the sun.
The sun disappears for good (at least for the day) over the peaks in Glacier National Park (Montana).